Patrick Edlinger, has he died?


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Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Nov 19, 2012 - 11:46am PT
A rough week on the ST, near and far.


Mountain climber
Nov 19, 2012 - 01:05pm PT

I don't know if the story is accessible in the US.

I kind of think of him as a european cross between warrn harding and bachar.

It's a shame someone who probably always thought they would die climbing something phenomenal died while climbing stairs.

Nov 19, 2012 - 01:15pm PT
A crude translation of the German Yahoo article:

All sports - climbing icon: Died At stairs fall?
Shock to the growing community of climbing: A legend of the Free Climbings died. At the age of 52 years was Patrick Edlinger was at his home in southern France, La Palud-sur-Verdon dead Frenchman aufgefunden.Der a pioneer of free climbing and in 1982 also on expert panels also known by two films of his incredible achievements in the light public engaged:

In "La Vie au bout des doigts" and "Opera vertical" can still amazed at how he climbs about unsecured by the Verdon gorges.

Until 1995, when, after a heavy fall suffered a cardiac arrest, climbed the "Le Blond" called exceptional talents continue at the top level, then he moved increasingly into private life. Of the birth of his daughter in 2002 he renounced risky solo trips.

He was supposed to be a few days ago at a Mountain Film Festival. A documentary film about his life was also in the works, such as a biography of the year 2013 - it had the dark side of an extraordinary way of life found their place.

Because Edlinger struggled for years with severe depression and was therefore become alcoholics - "my most difficult fight," as he has recently been quoted in the local newspaper "Dauphine Libere".

Reports that he died in a fall from a stairway in his house have not been confirmed to date. For now, the cause of death remains unexplained.

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Nov 19, 2012 - 01:56pm PT
Yet another great one downed by alcoholism. There ought to be a world wide awareness campaign per alcoholism in the adventure world. We seem to be especially prone to it.

Very sad news for all involved.


Trad climber
Fumbling towards stone
Nov 19, 2012 - 02:08pm PT
Oh dear. I'm so sorry to hear about his passing.

I agree with Largo's thoughts. [Edit to clarify: I meant regarding the general aspect of alcoholism in the climbing community... I don't pretend to know the circumstances of Patrick's life or passing. No disrespect meant.]

I was enjoying the other thread so much and was looking forward to viewing the videos posted there. When I do (and I will), it will be with a changed heart.

Patrick Sawyer

Originally California now Ireland
Nov 19, 2012 - 03:38pm PT
I thought this thread was gone, but Toker Villain linked me into it via an email.

We don't know of the circumstances of Patrick's death. Let's just send our best vibes to his family.

Albeit, alcoholism, I know a thing or two about that.
Patrick Oliver

Boulder climber
Fruita, Colorado
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 20, 2012 - 03:47am PT
Patrick kept wanting me to come to France to climb, where he would
take me on a tour of things... He wanted me to be prepared and
tried to teach me the most important French phrases, such as,
"Vule vu fer la mor avec moi." Forgive my spelling, but translated
"Would you like to make love with me?" He had a great sense of humor.
In turn I would tell him I wasn't about to take him down to Pueblo
to see Gill, because John didn't need another shoot-out on mainstreet.
In my living room Patrick threw himself onto the carpet, outraged that he
was not going to be able to climb with Gill. Well, in fact, Patrick
was too busy with climbs all over the place, taking on whatever route
had the biggest reputation. Vanity? That only means that he was aware
of how beautiful he was and how the women loved him.... No problem. As
noted above, he was wonderfully human and friendly and never a snob.
I remember he was already starting to drink, though, pretty
heavily... That was 1986.... as I recall.

Trad climber
Nov 27, 2012 - 06:30pm PT
There was an obituary in today's NYT. Here is the link and the text:

Patrick Edlinger, a versatile and charismatic French rock climber who helped popularize competitive sport climbing in the 1980s — “a form of yoga,” he called it — died on Nov. 16 at his home in La Palud-sur-Verdon, France. He was 52.

Courtesy of Lucio Tonina
Patrick Edlinger inspired others to scale rock walls in the 1980s.
Daniel Gorgeon, a close friend and fellow climber, confirmed his death. He did not specify the cause.

Sport climbing involves using anchors or bolts that are permanently installed into rock faces or artificial climbing walls to secure ropes and harnesses. The system prevents climbers from falling and allows them to practice routes by essentially falling repeatedly until they master a section.

The technique was anathema to some devotees of what is known as traditional climbing, a far more risky endeavor that requires climbers to improvise their own network of anchors and safety ropes as they make an ascent.

In climbing culture — a blend of sport, spiritualism, philosophy and bravado — the differences stirred fierce debate.

But things began to change in 1988 when Edlinger (pronounced ed-lan-ZHAY) appeared at a sport climbing competition in Snowbird, Utah, the first such competition in the United States. As the event neared its completion, more than a dozen sport climbers had failed to complete the competition route, which had been installed on an exterior wall of the Cliff Lodge hotel that was more than 100 feet tall.

Edlinger, who had made a point of not watching other climbers attempt the route, was the last to go. The day was gray and damp as he began his climb. He made his way fluidly toward a critical overhang that had vexed each climber before him and swept past it with relative ease. Just as he did, a streak of sunlight broke through the clouds and illuminated him against the wall. People cheered.

“Everyone just gasped and ran away from the wall; we all ran back to watch him pull over with the sunbeam hitting him as he pulled over the top,” John Harlin, a former editor of American Alpine Journal, recalled in an interview last week. “It was literally a beam, like a spotlight illuminating him and nothing else. What I tell people is that if this were a Hollywood movie script, it would be way too corny.”

For many climbers the moment has become nearly mythological, signifying a broader ascension for Edlinger himself and for sport climbing in general.

“Before that moment, in America, sport climbing was cheap; it was not really respected,” Phil Powers, the executive director of the American Alpine Club, said last week. “And it seems to me that after that moment, sport climbing became something we can respect.”

A quarter-century later, sport climbing drives the growth of rock climbing and inspires the aesthetics of outdoor clothing and culture. Powers said it had also increased the focus on fitness, stamina and athleticism in traditional mountain climbing.

Edlinger was born on June 15, 1960, in Dax, France. Edlinger began climbing as a teenager, and by the late 1970s, he and Gorgeon were climbing the seaside cliffs known as Les Calanques de Cassis. Edlinger eventually dropped out of college to pursue climbing.

Edlinger sought out increasingly challenging new routes. The routes he and other Frenchmen established in places like Gorges du Verdon and Ceuse became climbing destinations.

His fame grew when he was featured in documentary films about climbing, including “Life at Your Fingertips” and “Opera Vertical.” He later toured climbing sites around the world, making remarkably easy climbs of routes over which others had long labored.

“When he climbed, it was like watching a ballet,” Gorgeon said. “It looked like a professional dancer on the rocks. The moves weren’t rough. They were always very purposeful and beautiful.”

Henry Barber, a traditional climber, said that he had been skeptical of sport climbing, but that Edlinger helped change his mind because of his efforts to create harder routes. He added that he also admired Edlinger’s commitment to a more perilous form of climbing called free soloing, in which “there’s no rope, there’s no equipment, there’s just a person and shoes and hands.”

Edlinger had a serious fall while free soloing in the 1990s and had a heart attack related to the accident. He largely stopped free soloing after the accident. He was separated from his wife, Mata, Gorgeon said. Other survivors include a daughter, Nastia.

“When I climb, I feel an interior peace,” he said in a 2009 interview. “You’re obliged to concentrate on here and now, to concentrate totally. All of a sudden, you forget your problems, all the things that don’t interest you.”

Mountain climber
Nov 27, 2012 - 07:12pm PT
a small tangent regarding the above quoted nytimes article and this line in particular:

"climbing culture — a blend of sport, spiritualism, philosophy and bravado"

i don't think i've seen a more successful attempt at explaining/defining "climbing culture". often outsiders describing climbing are painfully misinformed and at best entertaining. assuming william yardley, the reporter of this article, is not a climber, his explanation is a surprisingly succinct and good one, imo.

returning to the topic at hand:

it seems apt that this description was made in an article regarding patrick edlinger. from the accounts i've seen and therefore in regards to his climbing, he pursued and excelled at all four of the above mentioned aspects.

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